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Police support murder charge against ex-trooper

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 13:04:27-05

12:50 p.m.

A spokesman for Michigan State Police says the department supports a second-degree murder charge against a former trooper who is blamed for a Detroit teen's death.

Lt. Mike Shaw says Mark Bessner violated policy by firing a Taser from a moving patrol car while trying to stop 15-year-old Damon Grimes in August because the teen was driving an all-terrain vehicle on a Detroit street. Grimes crashed the ATV after being hit by the Taser and subsequently died.

Shaw says a police officer's job is to protect citizens, "not take their lives."

Bessner was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutor Kym Worthy says he "created a very high risk of death" when he fired the Taser.

Bessner quit the force after the boy's death.

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11:15 a.m.

A former Michigan State Police trooper has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Detroit teenager who crashed an all-terrain vehicle after being shot with the officer's stun gun.

The Wayne County prosecutor planned to hold a news conference Wednesday. Court records show that besides second-degree murder, Mark Bessner is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Fifteen-year-old Damon Grimes died from multiple injuries in the Aug. 26 crash. Bessner resigned as a state trooper shortly after the death.

Bessner's lawyer says he made a split-second decision to use a Taser when Damon refused to stop.

Since the teen's death, state police no longer conduct high-speed chases in Detroit unless they're investigating a major crime.